IAAPA News - Asian Attractions Expo 2018 From the Floor - August 2018

Bohai Eye

Picture a giant Ferris wheel, 145 meters high, with no spokes or hub and absolutely nothing inside the outer ring, apart from air. Design the wheel to resemble the body of a dragon. Now build it on a bridge over a river, and you have the Bohai Eye, the world’s tallest spokeless Ferris wheel, and the first of its kind.

The Bohai Eye opened in May in Weifang, China, a city in the northeast Shandong province. It cost $60 million, required 5,000 tons of steel and took two years to build. There are 36 cabins, each with Wi-Fi, so riders can post photos to social media without delay.

This engineering marvel is the work of Zhejiang Juma Amusement, a company that got its start making family rides but has since built more than 50 Ferris wheels. A 25-minute ride on the Bohai Eye costs 100 yuan (about US$16).



Brogent Technologies

At a media conference on the trade show floor, Brogent Technologies and Ardent Leisure announced a partnership to develop stand-alone flying theaters across Australia and New Zealand.

The two companies are already working on their first—a 60-seat i-Ride—that will transform Dreamworld’s old IMAX cinema with Brogent’s flagship product. 

“The special thing about the i-Ride is that it’s very flexible,” says Brogent’s head of marketing Stefan Rothaug. “It has six degrees of freedom and can simulate anything you can imagine—even a roll upside down.”

The i-Ride is built in modules with 10 seats per platform, providing operators with flexibility to adjust the number of seats to match peak and off-peak periods, leading to less wear and tear on the ride and savings on maintenance costs. Dreamworld originally ordered 40 seats but decided to upgrade to 60 without affecting the opening date in late December in Queensland.

www.brogent.com | www.ardentleisure.com


The Experience Ticket

While some theme parks offer fast passes or have reservation systems for some rides, no park offers a completely queue-free experience. That could change with The Experience Ticket, a personalized and fully integrated reservation system.

“We can set up the system so no one has to queue. No one,” says Peter Rodbro, the company’s founder and CEO. “Everyone gets a time slot and a full itinerary.” Reservations are assigned based on a ride’s total capacity.

The Experience Ticket also enhances park safety by personalizing every ticket. Names and photos ensure that only ticketed guests are admitted to a park, while age and height information makes sure children who are too small for adult rides are not allowed on.

While several attractions have used The Experience Ticket for events or portions of their parks, Snow Park Muscat in Oman will be the first attraction to adopt the system in full, starting in the first quarter of next year.


Extreme Engineering

EXTREME ENGINEERINGImagine riding a roller coaster lying flat, face down, underneath the tracks, with your arms stretched out like a superhero in flight, and the ground below you is more than eight stories down.

This is Extreme Engineering’s proposition for the next generation of its suspended Cloud Coaster.

The prone coaster will debut on a rooftop in Thailand. The track extends over the edge of the building, some 85 feet above the ground. Around turns, riders swing from side to side, as banking is done on the cart, not the track, thanks to a patented technology. 

“This creates a moment of flying, a free experience, and allows us to make sharp turns that no other coaster can do,” says Phil Wilson, the company’s executive vice president. 

The roller coaster has a throughput of about 100 guests per hour, and costs less than $1 million to install.



Flying Jet

Sangwha’s Flying Jet creates an intense virtual reality (VR) experience for users who are immersed in an animated world in which they feel like they are in a flying suit in the midst of combat.

Users are strapped standing up into the device because “when you are sitting on a chair, the impact is not the same,” explains Sangwha Chief Technology Officer Eungiu Lee. “People tend to be more anxious when they stand up. It builds tension and gives you more thrill.”

The Flying Jet spins and drops users forward and backward, up to 70 degrees, but always on the same side of the device in order to reduce the ride’s footprint and minimize the motion sickness that is associated with some VR rides. To reduce load time, Sangwha’s engineers removed the belt system and instead created a safety cage, which is faster to close than buckles.

The Flying Jet costs US$60,000. Sangwha has installed the VR ride in more than half a dozen locations in Korea and is now selling the device overseas.




Most multiplayer VR games require a large footprint. But not Hologate, which can accommodate four players in a 5-by-5-meter space.

“All the games are custom-designed for this space, so you don’t run into each other,” says Hologate founder and CEO Leif Petersen. “We have really high-quality games. The whole design is to be easy to learn but hard to master.”

Participants can see and talk to one another. Some games are competitive, while others require collaboration. One of the most popular Hologate games, “Samurai Arena,” is a futuristic two-against-two “capture the flag.”

The German-engineered Hologate works “right out of the box” and is run with a touchscreen, so it’s easy to use for operators. Hologate currently offers half a dozen games, with more on the way; operators access new releases over the internet.

In less than a year, Hologate has sold more than 150 systems—primarily to family entertainment centers (FECs) in the United States—and is now expanding to Asia, with permanent showrooms in Beijing and Shanghai.



Most flying theaters provide patrons with the sensation that they are flying over a vista while in a seated position, as if they are in a chair lift or open-air plane. Holovis’ Li-Fly turns this concept on its side, using a uniquely designed motion system to tilt riders forward 180 degrees until they are prone and flying like a bird.

“Media-based attractions are not normally thrill-seeking,” says Holovis Creative Director Peter Cliff. “This one might bridge that gap because with Li-Fly, you’re right out there with nowhere to hide.”

Holovis’ real-time media capability also provides riders with control over their journey. Not only can they choose between different paths, they can also make other decisions within the setting of a game. 

Li-Fly can be deployed in a dome theatre or virtual reality setting, for a single patron or up to 100 riders.




Load up the slingshot with a plush Angry Bird, pull back, aim, release … and if the bird hits the digital pig’s mouth, you score a point.

The “Angry Birds Slingshot Game” is based on the mobile game and officially for children ages 6 to 12, though it can be a lot of fun for adults, too. It’s also is a hit for Hong Kong’s Kidgoland, which owns an exclusive global license to export Angry Birds games.

“We are very strong in design and operation,” explains Kidgoland director Sam Wong, when asked how he won the Angry Birds license. “I showed Rovio our games, our FEC in Hong Kong, and my previous design. They feel we are capable to make the Angry Bird play center.”

At first, the slingshot game could only be found in Kidgoland FECs in China, Hong Kong, and Macau. But now, after publicly showing the game for the first time at Asian Attractions Expo 2018, Kidgoland is selling it to other FEC operators.


Martin & Vleminckx

For the first time in its 30-year history, Martin & Vleminckx—known widely for its wooden coasters—is introducing a steel coaster. Produced in collaboration with Rocky Mountain Construction, the Raptor is a single-rail, single-seat ride that can handle three trains, each with eight coaches that load and unload while stopping for only a second to reactivate the restraint system.

“I’ve been in this business for 50 years, and this is as exciting as any coaster I’ve been on,” says Martin & Vleminckx Senior Vice President Chuck Bingham. “Once you leave the top of the loop and do the first 180-degree, straight-down drop, you don’t know where you are until you’re in the brakes. It’s an endless piece of track that is always turning, climbing, diving, and doing three inversions. It all happens so fast, you cannot keep up with it.”

The Raptor is currently in two locations in the United States, but with a new warehouse in Wuhan, China, to stockpile parts and provide service, Martin & Vleminckx expects Asian sales to take off.


Newman Entertainment

Building on the success of two popular themed educational attractions—Human Body Experience and Phobia Squared—Australia’s Newman Entertainment is launching “The House of Cards,” a 500-square-meter walk-through interactive that explains the history and folklore of cards.

“We take people on a journey,” says company director Paul Newman, “and give it surrealistic feel, so visitors become fully immersed in each character. There are lots of tactile features encouraging young people to touch and play.”

Newman Entertainment creates the entire structure, including the room, safety features, high-end audio and video, custom trusses, a bespoke control system, and 2.4-meter-high cards.

Up to 1,500 people a day can comfortably enjoy the exhibit, though Newman notes that more than 10,000 people once passed through the Human Body Experience on a single day. “The House of Cards” will be ready for public viewing by April 2019.



NineD’s ‘Bear Baby’

Promoted for the first time on the trade show floor of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, China’s NineD presented a new VR product for children called the “Bear Baby.”

Children sit in front of a brightly colored, meter-high, bow-tied plastic bear, then put on special VR glasses that have been designed to reduce eye strain. 

The bear appears to be wearing its own VR mask, though in fact this is a digital touchscreen. The Bear Baby has 18 games, available in English and Chinese. The back-end system is also offered in Korean. Parents watch on a separate bear screen as their children play. 

The Bear Baby is configured to accept payment from mobile wallets, as well as more conventional tokens, depending on the operator’s preference.

NineD is headquartered in Guangzhou. It produces the game’s hardware, software, and operating system. The company has sold 30,000 units of its premier game, the 9DVR, which looks like a hanging egg chair. 


Tape My Day

Imagine going to an attraction and at the end of the day receiving a video diary of your experience there without ever stopping to pose for a photo or even carry a camera with you. This is the innovative offering of Netherlands-based Tape My Day.

The entire process—including filming, editing, and stitching in-stock footage from a park—is fully automated. Cameras are placed at strategic positions throughout the park, not just on rides, so that visitors’ memories include snippets of their entire day. Even redemption is done online by customers, so there are no operational costs for attractions.

Participating parkgoers wear a wristband that enables cameras to track their movements through the attraction. They receive three versions of the video: a 4-minute diary, a 15-second social media video, and a 3- to 4-second GIF.

Tape My Day, which uses a revenue- and cost-sharing model to partner with parks, debuted at two attractions in June.



Triotech VR Maze

Step into TrioTech’s VR Maze, and you walk into the world of “Assassin’s Creed” or other Ubisoft games like “Virtual Rabbids.” Wear a light backpack and goggles, while holding a control in each hand. For “Assassin’s Creed,” the controls are like a bow and arrow. Pull back one arm to set the arrow into the bowstring, aim at the attacking animated soldiers, release, then inch forward, being careful not to fall off the virtual ledge.

“Real estate is very expensive. To insure a good return on investment for operators, we’ve decided to create a free-roaming VR, but in a small space,” explains TrioTech Vice President -Christian Martin. “In the virtual world, you’re moving great distances, but in the physical world, you’re actually moving in a 10-by-10-foot maze. Another advantage is that the physical environment around you—the high and low walls—match what you see in the virtual world, so it enhances the immersion.”

Triotech has just started marketing the project in Asia, targeting FECs and location-based entertainments. The VR Maze sells for about $70,000.